Africa Top10 News

Algeria Declared Malaria Free

Algeria Declared Malaria Free

The World Health Organisation has described it as a “historic achievement”. The declaration follows warnings that the global fight against malaria has slipped off track in recent years, with cases rising in many of the countries worst affected by the disease. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general, said Algeria’s achievement “serves as a model for other countries working to end this disease once and for all.” Algeria reported their last locally transmitted cases of malaria in 2013, meaning 38 countries and territories are now free of the disease. The country’s success in tackling malaria was due to improved efforts to detect cases of the disease, as well as free diagnosis and treatment, the WHO said. Algeria is the second country in the WHO African region to be officially recognised as malaria-free, after Mauritius, which was certified in 1973. Malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers. In 2017, there were roughly 219m cases of the disease and more than 400,000 malaria-related deaths. Approximately 60% of fatalities are among children aged under five years. In the 10 African countries where malaria is most prevalent – including Nigeria, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – there was a reported increase in cases of the disease in 2017 compared with the previous year.


People Wait for Zimbabwe’s Mega Deals to Materialise

Zimbabwe’s Mega Deals

Together with the enthusiastic support of state media, Mnangagwa and his officials have announced more than $27bn of planned investment ranging from new platinum mines to steel mills and hydropower dams. Medicines, fuel and foreign currency are in short supply, prices of basic goods such as bread are surging and the International Monetary Fund has forecast the first economic contraction in 11 years. And many of the investment projects announced by the government haven’t progressed beyond the memorandum of understanding or feasibility stage. Few companies with a “rational level of risk appetite” will invest in the country in its current state, said Jee-A van der Linde, an economist at NKC African Economics. The African Development Bank estimated foreign direct investment last year at $470 million, about a third of the $1.1 billion attracted by northern neighbor Zambia and a fraction of the $2.3 billion that flowed into Mozambique, which lies to the east. For some Zimbabweans, the investment pledges evoke memories of Mugabe, who was prone to announcing mega-deals that didn’t materialize. For example, in September 2017 Mugabe announced plans to revive Zimbabwe Iron & Steel Works Ltd., once the second-largest steelmaker in sub-Saharan Africa. The project never got off the ground.


Ethiopia’s Cash Cow Programme

Farmers in Ethiopia

Farmers in Ethiopia have joined a program that helps them borrow money to purchase a dairy cow and get it insured. The milk would bring in much-needed income – as much as $10.45 a day. As climate change tests the livelihoods of crop farmers and herders, the innovative scheme aims to foster a culture of saving and micro-insurance – but not all has gone smoothly. Run by UK-based nonprofit Farm Africa, the project organizes farmers into savings groups and links them with micro-finance companies that give them loans to buy cows for extra income. They then sign up to insurance policies to ensure they can still repay their loans if their cows die. But some farmers complain such market-driven initiatives leave participants waiting too long for the money to come in. According to Farm Africa, since the project launched in 2015, it has established more than 340 village savings and loans associations, through which households have put away more than $100,000 and farmers have accessed nearly $70,000 in loans. Addis Ababa-based Nyala Insurance S.C., which provides the livestock cover, said payouts to a few farmers had been delayed. That was mainly because of the technology Nyala agents use to record and submit claims while in the field, said Solomon Zegeye, micro-insurance business manager at the company.


The UK’s Last Traces of Colonialism in Africa

UK Colonialism in Africa

The United Nations General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to condemn the UK’s continued occupation of the Chagos Islands — a humiliating defeat for London on its continued colonial legacy. The Indian Ocean islands, which are home to US military base Diego Garcia, were separated from the former British territory of Mauritius during decolonization in 1968. On Wednesday, UN member states voted 116-6 for a non-binding resolution endorsing a decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that separation was illegal and calling for the UK to return the islands to Mauritius within six months. Only Australia, Hungary, Israel, the Maldives and the US voted in support of the UK. While the UN will not force the UK to give up the Chagos Islands, pressure is on for London to find a way to transition control to Mauritius. That may be compounded if a deal is worked out to maintain the US base under Mauritian rule. Home to more than 1,000 US troops and staff, it has been used by the US Navy, US Air Force and even NASA. The base has helped to launch two invasions of Iraq, served as a vital landing spot for bombers flying missions across Asia, including over the South China Sea, and has been linked to US rendition efforts.


A Pan-African Jury Praises Amadou’s “Strong, Rebellious” Voice

Djiaili Amadou

Cameroonian author Djiaili Amadou has won the inaugural Prix Orange du Livre en Afrique – an award for French-speaking authors in Africa. Amadou’s winning novel “Munyal; les larmes de la patience” (Munyal, the tears of patience) is a tale centering around forced marriage, polygamy and women’s rights. Prix Orange du Livre en Afrique, serves to “boost African literature and offer authors more visibility inside and outside the continent”, Jeune Afrique quotes the jury president as saying. The winner will receive $11,100 cash price and will benefit from a marketing campaign to promote their work.


Is Sudan’s Post-Bashir Honeymoon Over?

Sudan’s Post-Bashir

At issue is the makeup of a new governing council: Neither the protesters nor the military leaders are willing to give up a majority of a proposed transitional government’s sovereign council, or control of the council’s presidency. The tension is palpable. There is a heavy troop deployment across Khartoum. Pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns are a common sight. The protesters have likewise fortified the sit-in with tents, kitchens and barricades of bricks, signposts and fencing ringing the site. The stakes could not be higher. With Libya, Syria and Yemen in chaos after popular attempts to challenge dictatorial regimes, many worry Sudan, a chronically unstable country already suffering from wars in Darfur and along its border with South Sudan, could succumb to the same fate. The protest movement is also showing cracks. From the start, women featured prominently at the sit-in, but now the vast majority of protesters on the streets are men, as are all members of the leadership’s negotiating team. Some minorities and people from marginalized areas such as Darfur, who harbor perhaps the biggest grievances against the regime, also say they are sidelined.


Getting Ugandan Children Off the Streets

Ugandan Street Children

Lawmakers in Uganda have passed a bill making it a criminal offence to offer money, food or a donation to a street child. Violators of this new law could face up to six months in jail or a fine. The aim of the law is to curb the commercial and sexual exploitation of children. Kampala’s mayor, Erias Lukwago, says the law will also penalise traffickers, agents and parents of the children found begging or selling items on the streets. The government estimates there are as many as 15,000 children between the ages of seven and 17 on the city’s streets, and the number continues to climb. Some of the children are trafficked from villages and given small rooms in slums by their handlers. The law also makes it illegal to lease or rent a house to a child for immoral activities or for a child to engage in petty trade.


South Africa’s Three Youngest Lawmakers

Sibongiseni Ngcobo

At just 23 years old, Sibongiseni Ngcobo is from the official opposition party the Democratic Alliance. He will be the youngest Member of Parliament after serving as a party’s councillor, an experience which he described as eye-opening, “Martin Luther King inspired me when he said our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. I then said to myself, I have to be in politics and help people.” Naledi Chirwa, 25, is among the group of student activists who were at the forefront of the #FeesMustFall movement which advocated for free higher education for poor students.  Chirwa is an actor, feminist and EFF student activist. She is currently the party’s media and communications officer for the student command. Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, 25, like also rose to prominence through the #FeesMustFall protests in 2015. Even then she was open about her love for the ruling ANC and wore the party’s doek during protests, on magazine covers and in magazine interviews.


Championing Animal Rights in Madagascar

Animal Rights in Madagascar

An appeals court has upheld a six-year prison term for three people trafficking in critically endangered radiated tortoises. Two men and a woman were also fined more than $26,000 when they were convicted last month. The suspects were arrested last year after neighbors complained of a dreadful smell in a house. Police found more than 10,000 of the reptiles covering the floor throughout the house. About 500 tortoises were dead. The Worldwide Fund for Nature — called the World Wildlife Fund in North America — said this was a record seizure of tortoises. The survivors were cleaned up and quarantined before being released back into their natural habitat. Radiated tortoises are extremely rare, and experts say they may be on the verge of extinction. They are named for the unusual markings on their shells that look like beams radiating from the sun. Their shells have blood vessels. Unlike other tortoises, they can feel their shells being touched.


American Comedienne Tiffany Haddish is Now Officially an Eritrean

Tiffany Haddish

Haddish flew into town late last week to join the country’s 28th Independence Day celebrations in Asmara. A famed photographer Ghideon Musa and other Twitter users shared photos of Haddish applying for citizenship. She is seen going through and filling the relevant forms at what appeared to be a government office, she was draped in the Eritrean flag whiles completing the process. Until now, she was widely referred to only as an American with Eritrean parentage. She was also a main feature at the Independence Day carnival that hit the streets of the capital Asmara on Wednesday. Haddish is seen on an open-top vehicle waving at the citizens who had lined up along the streets to observe the spectacle. The Face2Face Africa news website wrote about Haddish’s parentage: “Born in Los Angeles to an African-American mother and Eritrean father, Haddish visited the Horn of Africa nation last year in what was an emotional homecoming to bury her father and also meet and connect with her relatives. Haddish’s father, Tsihaye Reda Haddish, entered the United States as a refugee.”


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